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Movie classics? Depends on your taste

Checking In With...Kristen Tett

Series relies on suggestions of everyday moviegoers, so offbeat films may rate higher than, say, 'Citizen Kane.'

May 30, 2013|By Michael Miller
  • Kristen Tett runs the classic film series at Triangle Square Cinemas -- and she's open to your suggestions.
Kristen Tett runs the classic film series at Triangle… (Courtesy of Starlight…)

The schedule for Kristen Tett's Cinema Classics series at Triangle Square Cinemas doesn't look like the syllabus for a film studies class, exactly. This year's offerings run the gamut from critical darlings (the first two "Godfather" movies, "Vertigo") to popcorn classics ("The Great Race") to at least one entry that was outright savaged by most reviewers ("The Cannonball Run").

What the schedule does look like is a cross-section of moviegoers' tastes — and that's the idea. Every year, Tett, who organizes the classics series in Costa Mesa as well as at other Starlight Cinemas locations in Anaheim and Whittier, invites patrons to cast ballots for the movies they'd like to see return to the big screen for a night. And if that means "Airplane!" makes the list while "Citizen Kane" doesn't, which was the case at Triangle Square this year, well, then, so be it.

Whatever your own tastes may be, you'll probably find something to like in the classics series, which runs every other Monday until December, when one holiday-themed film will be shown each week. As Triangle Square prepares to tune up "The Music Man" on June 10, Tett spoke with the Daily Pilot about her own love of movies and her theory about what makes an enduring favorite:

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Any time I hear about a classic film series, it always sounds like a labor of love. Were you a big moviegoer as a child?

Definitely a big moviegoer as a child. But also, my father is an avid cinema lover, and so I grew up watching a lot of these classics at home — specifically, a lot of the musicals. Most of the films we feature in our series were a big part of our childhood.

Are there any movies playing in the series this year that you saw in the first run?

No. I'm not old enough to have qualified for any of these in their first run. We categorize that anything released before 1980 is what we consider applicable to be voted on for the series. This is the first year we've featured any films released in the early '80s, like "Raiders of the Lost Ark." Because we limit it to the early '80s and before, I wouldn't have had the opportunity to see any in the theaters.

Looking at your schedule this year, there's certainly a mix of high and low art — everything from "Gone with the Wind" to "The Cannonball Run." Given that range, do you have a definition of what makes a classic movie?

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